FourSquare Gets $1.35M in Venture Funding

foursquareFourSquare, the startup behind the popular LBS mobile application of the same name, has received $1.35 million in first round funding led by Union Square Ventures and including O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Union Square Ventures is also an investor in Twitter, which is launching its own LBS feature in the coming weeks.
FourSquare lets iPhone and Android mobile users “check in” and notify friends when they get to a certain location, such as a restaurant or bar; the app also includes game mechanics. The NYC-based startup was founded by Dennis Crowley, who was behind Dodgeball, a similar mobile software service that was acquired by Google (s goog) in 2005.
The mobile LBS trend will be featured at our upcoming Mobilize 09 conference.

Twitter Taps Dick Costolo as COO

DickCostolo050Former Google (s goog) executive and Feedburner CEO and co-founder Dick Costolo will be joining the ex-Googler gang at Twitter as the micro-messaging service’s new COO. The recent appointment of Costolo, who’s known for his comedic tweets, signifies that Twitter is trying to grow its business as fast as possible — especially as its user base expands.
Feedburner, an RSS feed management tool, was funded by Union Square Ventures, which is an investor in Twitter. Google acquired Feedburner in 2007. With Costolo’s move, it looks like the old gang is getting back together again.

Don’t Blame Venture Woes on the Economy; It’s the VCs’ Fault

After a period of “looking inward,” venture firms are ready to start putting money to work during the second half of this year, according to Terry McGuire. The co-founder and managing general partner at Polaris Venture Partners spoke on a conference call today detailing the state of the global venture capital industry — a state that isn’t rosy, even if the folks on the call tried hard to avoid saying that. The call, sponsored by the National Venture Capital Association and Deloitte, highlighted a survey of 725 venture capitalists around the world that determined that the economic downturn has made Asia a more attractive market for venture firms, and that larger venture firms are more likely to focus on late-stage investing and decrease their investments in new companies overall.

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In a series of charts, Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, showed how now is a terrible time for early-stage companies looking for venture capital. The presentation also made me wonder if greed and complacency have broken the industry by allowing too much capital to flow into it. Read More about Don’t Blame Venture Woes on the Economy; It’s the VCs’ Fault

The VC Industry Is Too Fat and the Exits Are Too Thin

[qi:115] The venture model is ailing, and folks in the industry are promoting two different diagnoses for the sickness. One group says the industry needs more exits and should promote the return of smaller initial public offerings, while the other says the industry has grown too big in terms of the money it raises and needs to shrink. Both are probably right, but I think firms adjusting for a smaller overall industry will be likelier to succeed. Read More about The VC Industry Is Too Fat and the Exits Are Too Thin